London’s Pride festival is a time for celebration and reflection on just how much progress has been made for the LGBT+ community. And this year’s event was no exception, with more brands, charities and celebrities getting involved than ever before.
That’s why we were thrilled when our client HSBC, a Stonewall Top 100 Employer and known supporter of diversity, came to us with the challenge of creating a campaign that would show their support of Pride.
It had to be something that would reflect HSBC’s core belief - that people should feel free to fulfil their potential by living a life without boundaries. It also had to be authentic, inspiring, and capture the hearts and minds of those experiencing Pride, be it for the first or 40th time. We wanted to stand out from the crowd, something far easier said than done – the bar for eye-catching is pretty high after all.
We considered a number of options, including a new take on Baker's Flag to pay homage to legendary activist, Gilbert Baker who died earlier this year. But we felt we could go even further. So, we decided we’d show where Pride came from, what society was like for the gay community during that time, the progress made in just half a century, and how change came about.
After only a week of casting, we found the perfect stories to tell in the form of 75-year-old Andrew, who attended the very first Pride march in 1972, and 23-year-old Jamie, who transitioned from female to male and last year marched in his first ever Pride parade in 2016, alongside his girlfriend.
Both participants invited us and our production crews into their homes and shared their amazing stories, which took us on a journey from police violence and public hatred in the 70s to family tensions and modern-day battles against discrimination. We explored the similarities and differences between the two men and their Pride experiences.
The biggest challenge was to capture the powerful emotions behind the stories in just three minutes - we could have filmed Andrew and Jamie talking for hours.
“From the very beginning, I wanted to make sure that young people of the future didn’t have to go through what we did...but we haven’t won yet.” – Andrew Lumsden, 75
The full creative asset was shot in vertical, to best accommodate the mobile-first audience, with natural light and real settings to ensure the film looked and felt like a documentary. It was also cut down into a 60 second edit, and a series of 15 second edits, which were shared on HSBC UK’s social channels in the run-up to and during Pride London 2017.
In the face of oppression, they marched with pride. pic.twitter.com/EhjazIKyyL
— HSBC UK (@HSBC_UK) July 5, 2017
— Ad Age (@adage) July 12, 2017
— shots.net (@shotscreative) July 7, 2017
We’re honoured to have been involved with a project which has helped to highlight just how far we, as a society, have come in LGBT+ rights and how far we still have to go, and we’ve learnt a lot in the process.